Furious residents who live near migrant detention centre in Kent call for tougher action by authorities over claims asylum seekers ‘are escaping on daily basis’
- Residents who live near Manston are calling for tougher action by authorities
- The community has reported seeing asylum seekers ‘escaping on a daily basis’
- Others are worried about reports of diphtheria and cholera spreading in centre
Furious residents who live near a migrant detention centre in Kent are calling for tougher action by authorities over claims that asylum seekers ‘are escaping on a daily basis’.
Some of the community living around Manston, a processing centre for migrants crossing the Channel, have reported seeing migrants wandering around their estate and peering into properties.
There have been reports that asylum seekers are finding their way out of the facility on a daily basis.
Others are concerned about the foul conditions inside the facility. There are reports of diphtheria and cholera spreading inside the centre where as many as 4,000 asylum seekers are being housed.
Furious residents who live near Manston, a migrant detention centre in Kent, are calling for tougher action by authorities over claims that asylum seekers ‘are escaping on a daily basis’
Some of the community living around Manston have reported seeing migrants wandering around their estate and peering into properties. Pictured, migrants at Manston on Monday
A man walks near a shower area inside the immigration processing centre in Manston, Kent
A member of staff watches on as a group of migrants gather together inside the Manston centre, which is located inside a former RAF base
Natalie Townsend, 32, said that she can sometimes hears shouting from inside Manston. Pictured, people thought to be migrants arriving at Manston on Monday
Natalie Townsend, 32, said that the number of asylum seekers fleeing the centre has become significantly worse in the last three to four weeks.
The mother-of-two, who has lived in Manston for 11 years, said: ‘The police are around every day picking up the migrants that are escaping.
‘The migrants are constantly wondering onto the estate, looking into people’s gardens and houses.
Suella Braverman claims Britain’s asylum system is ‘broken’ and illegal migration ‘out of control’
Suella Braverman tonight claimed Britain’s asylum system is ‘broken’ and illegal migration is ‘out of control’ amid an ‘invasion’ on the South Coast.
The Home Secretary delivered a stark assessment to the House of Commons of her department’s failings.
More than 4,000 people are claimed to be on the Manston site – which is designed to accommodate only 1,600 – with concerns the ‘inhumane’ conditions are leading to a risk of fire, disorder and infection.
Mrs Braverman tonight cautioned MPs against using ‘inflammatory language’ in relation to the severity of the situation at Manston, although she admitted it was ‘indisputably concerning’.
But the Home Secretary also attracted condemnation of her own comments when she referred to the Channel migrant crisis as an ‘invasion’.
Furious MPs accused her of ‘inflaming hate’ and highlighted how her remarks came just a day after petrol bombs were thrown at another Home Office facility in Kent.
Mrs Braverman began a statement to the Commons by providing an update on the ‘shocking’ incident at Dover’s Western Jet Foil yesterday.
The embattled Home Secretary also gave her wider assessment of the Channel migrant crisis – which has seen 40,000 people arrive on the South Coast already this year.
‘We need to be straight with the public. The system is broken. Illegal migration is out of control,’ Mrs Braverman told MPs.
She suggested only the Tories were ‘serious about stopping the invasion on our southern coast’.
‘Some 40,000 people have arrived on the south coast this year alone,’ the Home Secretay added.
‘Many of them facilitated by criminal gangs, some of them actual members of criminal gangs.
‘So let’s stop pretending that they are all refugees in distress. The whole country knows that is not true.’
Mrs Braverman had earlier denied blocking migrants from staying in hotels and insisted she had ‘never ignored legal advice’ in relation to accommodation for asylum seekers.
A senior Tory has suggested the Home Secretary actively decided not to book more hotel space to stop arrivals staying at the Manston reception centre too long.
Former civil servants pointed out that if Mrs Braverman had done so it could be a breach of the ministerial code, potentially a resigning matter.
But, in a statement to the House of Commons tonight, the Home Secretary told MPs: ‘To be clear, like the majority of the British people, I am very concerned about hotels – but I have never blocked their usage.’
She added: ‘I have never ignored legal advice.’
Mrs Braverman outlined how it costs taxpayers £6.8million a day to fund hotel accommodation for migrants and asylum seekers.
‘Let me set out to the House the situation that I found when I arrived as Home Secretary in September at the Home Office,’ she said.
‘I was appalled to learn there were over 35,000 migrants staying in hotel accommodation around the country at exorbitant cost to the taxpayer.
‘I instigated an urgent review. I pushed officials to identify accommodation options which would be more cost-effective and delivered swiftly while meeting out legal obligations to migrants.’
As she vowed to crackdown on the Channel migrants crisis, the Home Secretary also issued a warning to those travelling to Britain from mainland Europe on small boats.
‘People coming here illegally from safe countries are not welcome and should not expect to stay,’ she said.
‘I’ve seen them jumping over the fence at that detention centre so I went around and told the staff.
‘One of them who was in army uniform said once they escape the facility, they are no longer their problem.
‘This guy in the army actually said that… And I’ve seen migrants four or five times even in the last few weeks.
‘You see them in the road, walking to nearby towns.’
Ms Townsend, who lives with her 42-year-old husband Matthew Ing, said she is worried about the conditions inside the detention centre, adding that she can sometimes hears shouting from inside.
‘Sometimes you hear things… It depends on the wind but there has been occasions when you hear shouting and yelling,’ she said.
‘I was not amused when I heard the news that there are now 700 more of them there.
‘It’s triple what it can hold and I think there will be more of the same incidents — with them escaping — now that there is loads more.
‘They are overrun by the migrants, if I was in charge I’d have more people there to stop them escaping.
‘It’s not working as it is.’
Ms Townsend added: ‘My neighbours know someone who works in there and they said there had been outbreaks of cholera and diphtheria which is very concerning given it’s close to home and they are deadly diseases.’
Trevor Jones, 69, who has lived on the estate opposite the detention centre for 23 years, is an ex-soldier with the Grenadier Guards having served for 44 years in the army.
He lives with his wife Carol, 54, and said they have complained to their MP about noise from the facility.
‘A few months ago they installed these huge generators to provide the place with electricity and it was deafening,’ he said.
‘I complained to my MP and council so they installed some microphones to detect the amount of noise… It was 83 decibels in my garden.
‘It kept me awake all night, that is industrial level noise. People need ear defenders for that amount of work. And these things were on 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
‘After my complaints they did move the generators to put smaller ones in…eventually.
‘But now I hears screams and shouts and people climbing over the fencing every day.
‘They get picked up by police after escaping through a big hole in the fence. As a tax paying ex-soldier, I don’t think it’s good enough.’
Mr Jones said that they were not consulted before Manston was used as a processing centre, adding that he was concerned about the impact on property prices.
‘I actually feel sorry for them,’ he added. ‘All they want is a better life. I’ve got no problem with it if they go through the right channels. But not this way.
‘There are supposed to be around 1,600 people there, and they are meant to stay for 24 hours.
‘But because there are way more than that and they are staying for longer, you hear about this diphtheria outbreak — that is more contagious than Covid.’
Another resident of the estate said that he hears noises from inside the centre, including shouting and what sounds like fighting.
Wayne Ross, 40, has been a resident of the area for nine years and said the situation had become much worse in recent weeks.
the father-of-three said that he has seen migrants standing on the corner of the road, waiting to be picked up by cars, after fleeing the facility.
Mr Ross, who lives with his wife Sharon, 50, and works in exterior cleaning, said: ‘You hear noises until the early hours of the morning. It sounds like shouting and fighting inside, it is worrying.
‘The place has been getting busier and busier in recent weeks.
‘There are always buses going in and out and it’s become much louder in the past four to six weeks too.
‘I don’t see how they can cope with the extra 700 people that arrived this weekend.’
On Sunday, migrants being housed in the Western Jet Foil centre in Kent were sent to Manston after a man threw explosive devices at the site from the window of his car.
He was seen laughing as he hurled three petrol bombs at a security checkpoint before driving to a nearby petrol station and killing himself.
Bursting at the seams: Photos reveal tents set up at Manston immigration centre where 4,000 migrants are packed into space for just 1,600 people – amid claims compound is rife with diphtheria and violence
Extra tents have been set up at a migrant processing centre in Kent where 4,000 people are packed into a space designed for just 1,600.
Unions have warned the facility in Manston is ‘like a pressure cooker’, with cases of diphtheria and outbreaks of violence.
Overcrowding at the former RAF airfield has worsened after 700 more migrants were taken to the centre from another site in Dover which was attacked on Sunday by a man hurling petrol bombs.
Sir Roger Gale, a local Conservative MP, described the situation at Manston as a ‘breach of humane conditions’ and accused ministers of deliberately fuelling overcrowding.
‘There are simply far too many people and this situation should never have been allowed to develop, and I’m not sure that it hasn’t almost been developed deliberately,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats arrive at the Dover centre before being taken to Manston for processing.
They are meant to stay there for a maximum of 24 hours while they undergo checks before being moved into immigration detention centres or asylum accommodation such as hotels.
But Home Secretary Suella Braverman was said to have blocked the transfer of migrants from the centre amid the soaring cost of housing them in hotels, which is around £6million per day.
It comes as new official figures revealed a further 468 migrants were intercepted crossing the Channel in small boats on Sunday in eight separate incidents.
Sunday’s arrivals take the number to make the treacherous crossing so far this year to 39,259, compared to 28,526 in 2021.
Aerial photos show large tents that have been set up at Manston, a migrant processing centre in Kent that is said to be heavily overcrowded
Migrants and staff could be seen milling around in the field outside the large tents
Unions have warned the facility in Manston is ‘like a pressure cooker’, with cases of diphtheria and outbreaks of violence
A woman waves at the camera from behind a green tarpaulin covering a wire fence at a migrant processing centre in Manston, Kent
Conditions inside the Manston facility – the outside of which is pictured today – have been described as dangerous and overcrowded
A man holds up a baby inside an immigration processing centre in Manston, where conditions have been criticised by MPs
A view of people thought to be migrants at the Manston immigration short-term holding facility. It was previously used by the MoD to train firefighters
Sir Roger, the MP for North Thanet, told Sky News there were now more than 4,000 people at Manston. He said conditions were ‘wholly unacceptable’ and suggested it may have been allowed to happen ‘deliberately’.
‘That’s like driving a car down a motorway, seeing the motorway clear ahead, then there’s a car crash, and then suddenly there’s a five mile tailback. The car crash was the decision not to book more hotel space,’ he said.
Asked whether Ms Braverman is the right person to handle this situation, Sir Roger said: ‘I’m not seeking to point fingers at the moment but I do believe whoever is responsible, and that is either the previous home secretary or this one, has to be held to account, because a bad decision was taken and it’s led to what I would regard as a breach of humane conditions.’
There have been outbreaks of diphtheria and scabies at Manston – and the Guardian reported there was a case of MRSA. Staff are also reporting outbreaks of violence amid tensions over the conditions.
Lucy Moreton, from the Immigration Services Union (ISU), told MailOnline: ‘The situation at Manston has been allowed to become utterly catastrophic.
‘Over 4,000 people are now on site; some, including families with children, for more than 4 weeks. The facilities are utterly inadequate.
‘Staff face threatening and violet behaviour on a daily basis from migrants who are frustrated and bored. The ISU has raised urgent concerns that detention at this site and for this length of time is unlawful.’
Andy Baxter, assistant general secretary of the POA, said Manston has unfolded as a ‘humanitarian crisis on British soil’, with ‘pressure cooker’ conditions building.
There have also been outbreaks of violence at the facility, whistleblowers from the camp told the Daily Mail over the weekend.
‘Fights have broken out between Albanians and Eritreans using sharpened combs from their Home Office washbags as weapons,’ the source said.
‘A small Army detachment is inside to help keep order. We have been told riot police are on standby to enter if the migrants kick off in the next few days. It is a tinderbox.
‘Migrants have attacked Border Force officials and security staff, who are scared and outnumbered.’
Cabinet minister Michael Gove yesterday told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme the situation at Manston is ‘deeply concerning’ but he denied that the Home Secretary ignored or dismissed legal advice.
Chief inspector of prisons Charlie Taylor, who has inspected the facility, said urgent improvements were needed.
‘We were absolutely clear in our report that’s coming out tomorrow that the Home Office and contractors need to get a grip, they need to speed up the processing of migrants, they need to make suitable provisions so people can be moved off site as quickly as possible and housed in humane and decent conditions,’ he told Today.
Sir Roger, the MP for North Thanet, told Sky News there were now more than 4,000 people at Manston. He said conditions were ‘wholly unacceptable’ and suggested it may have been allowed to happen ‘deliberately’
He said: ‘That’s like driving a car down a motorway, seeing the motorway clear ahead, then there’s a car crash, and then suddenly there’s a five mile tailback’
Migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats arrive at the Dover centre before being taken to the Manston for processing
Members of the military and UK Border Force extinguish a fire from a petrol bomb in Dover, Kent, on Sunday
Mr Taylor added: ‘The facilities are not set up for people to be staying. It’s not a residential facility. It’s a short-term holding facility which is supposed to process people through.
‘So the danger is if people are spending long periods of time in what are very cramped conditions without suitable accommodation that’s just not acceptable.’
Mr Jenrick visited Manston on Sunday after another watchdog, Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration David Neal, told MPs he was left ‘speechless’ by the problems at the site.
In a post on Twitter, Mr Jenrick said migrants continue to be processed ‘securely’ in ‘challenging conditions’, adding: ‘I was hugely impressed by the staff I met, managing this intolerable situation.’
The same day police said two or three incendiary devices were thrown at a migrant processing centre in Dover and caused a fire.
The suspect was identified and found at a nearby petrol station, where he was confirmed dead, Kent Police said.
Two people inside the centre at Western Jet Foil were left with minor injuries.
Although the site remained open, 700 people were moved to Manston for safety reasons.
A Reuters photographer said a man threw petrol bombs with fireworks attached before killing himself. The news agency reported the attacker was described as a white man wearing a striped top, who drove up to the centre in a white Seat 4×4 vehicle.
Some 468 people arrived in the UK on Sunday after crossing the Channel in eight boats, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said, taking the provisional total for the year so far to 39,864.
A group of migrants outside the Manston facility last week. The site in Kent is located in the former Defence Fire Training and Development Centre in Thanet, Kent
Overcrowding at the former RAF airfield has worsened after 700 more migrants were bussed to the centre from another site in Dover that was attacked on Sunday by a man hurling petrol bombs
Migrants are meant to stay at Manston for a maximum of 24 hours while they undergo checks before being moved into immigration detention centres or asylum accommodation such as hotels
A file photo of the facility, where unions and whistleblowers say conditions have deteriorated in recent weeks
Environment minister Mark Spencer told Sky News the UK needs to find a way to deal with migrants ‘compassionately’ as he acknowledged there are ‘huge challenges’ in the system.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said there is no ‘silver bullet’ to fix the migrant crisis, adding: ‘Clearly there’s more to do, but we’re making progress.’
In an interview with GB News, he denied there had been an outbreak of diphtheria within the facility.
‘My understanding is actually that people presented with diphtheria and were treated by the medical facilities there,’ he said.
‘That was not an outbreak of diphtheria within the facility. That’s people landing on our shores with that condition and being treated by our medical teams there to help them and support them.
James Wilson, Deputy Director at Detention Action, said: ‘Home Office statistics show that most of the people being held at Manston, including children, are likely to be refugees who have already survived serious trauma and danger to reach our shores.
‘The Home Office is now denying those people essential medical, psychological and legal support. It is cruel and unlawful to detain people for weeks on end in these increasingly unsanitary, overcrowded conditions.’
The Home Office said last night: ‘The Home Secretary has taken urgent decisions to alleviate issues at Manston and source alternative accommodation. Claims advice was deliberately ignored are completely baseless.
‘It is right we look at all available options so decisions can be made based on the latest operational and legal advice.
‘The number of people arriving in the UK via small boats has reached record levels, which has put our asylum system under incredible pressure and costs the British taxpayer millions of pounds a day.’
Migrants at the Western Jet Foil processing centre in Dover on Sunday following the petrol bomb incident
Flames could be seen on the ground as the man threw a petrol bomb with a firework attached out of the car window
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